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Unread 06-23-2021, 05:23 PM   #1
SWB04
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New Project: Cultured Stone veneer for home foundation

Introduction:

This is the largest project I've taken on to date. Installing stone veneer on the concrete foundation of the house. I have three questions now, but I'm sure they won't be the last (see "Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4" below). I've been researching for this project for months; any and all advice is appreciated. The more I prepare, the less likely I am to totally mess this thing up (and/or, as frequently happens with my projects, it takes over a year to complete).

Background:

I "finished" my house in 2016-2018 (depending on the definition of finished, i.e. we occupied in November 2016, but spent a year living on OSB subfloors and with drywall with no trim completed). It took me a year to get the hardwood window wraps, sils, trim, flooring, and etc installed. It was a couple, before we fully occupied the home, and everything (fireplace, tankless water heater) was working and "debugged".

I still have a few minor things to attend to, i.e. a commode door that was not properly installed, replacing two noisy commode fans, fixing stuff here and there that wasn't done correctly, originally.

This BIG PROJECT, however, has been on hold, both due to costs and the amount of work. I moving ahead now, installing cultured (i.e. fake, made with cement) stone veneer around the base of the house.

Site:

My house is on somewhat steep hillside incline, 3 stories high, the bottom being the garage, plus two floors above it. The foundation walls at the garage level are 9' high, with about 5' exposed on the sides, at the front of the garage. The garage face is about 11' or 12' tall, and we're going to cover about 9' of it with stone (there is so little shear sheathing in front, it only comes out to about 50 sq ft). There are also two small pony walls in front, a concrete porch (about 4' high), and anywhere from 5' to less than 12" all along the foundation, as extends up the hill, profiling along the ground. I have an open crawl space on one side of the house (don't ask; they grandfathered the existing cesspool of the previous cabin, by building the new house OVER IT, since due to EPA rules, nothing new in this area can be built unless it's on a city sewer system, or has sufficient acreage (5 acres) for a septic field, and low enough density not to impact the county aquifer). For obvious reasons, it won't be clad with stone veneer. I also have a utility area for electric and cable boxes, which for practical (and cost) reasons, can't be moved away from the foundation in order to install the veneer behind it. I might be able to pivot the underground cable tube that I installed in 2016 away from the house, to get stone behind it, or I might be able to cut the stone lengthwise, to fit it behind some of the pipes (risky & doubtful, since cultured concrete can become brittle if cut thinner). It's another one of those "we'll see what we do when we get to it" ... uh...er "plans".

All in all, there are some unique challenges to this project, so I'll be posting questions and pictures on this thread.

One more thing, regarding the garage door. It's a hodgepodge of sheathing, siding, and concrete foundation. I intend to remove the siding below 9' (so that the top of the stone matches the wall edges as the stone wraps around to the sides). I'll also remove the garage door trim, both facing and the faux door frame, adding 2 layers of waterproof barrier, and then install metal lath over the entire area, including wrapping the sides and top of the garage door opening with stone. Specs are per NCMA, NSVI, & in compliance ASTM C1780 (at least, to the best of my ability).

https://ncma.org/resource/key-instal...-stone-veneer/

https://www.nsvi.com/specs/NSVI-FDLS...Guide-2019.pdf

Material: Installing SELKIRK stone, Country Cliffstone, Durango Brown
https://selkirkstone.com/country-cliffstone

Questions:

1) I've read and discussed this, and gotten several different recommendations on preparation and mortar.

a) Selkirk directs application of Type-S mortar, i.e. to avoid poly thinset or modified mortars. They have a tendency to adhere to the surface of the stone and ruin it, i.e. too sticky. Apply a scratch coat, let dry (7 days, I presume, seems to be the standard), then bond the material by applying mortar directly to it, and then on to the wall.

b) Others have suggested applying a concrete bonding agent, i.e. roll it on, before the scratch coat. This is a four season area. It this necessary?

c) NCMA and NVSI both indicate that metal lath may be applied to the concrete foundation, if it cannot otherwise be prepared sufficiently to ensure a good bond (e.g. previously stained, painted, or degraded concrete). Not an issue for my house; don't intend to do this.

d) I'll be grinding the walls to remove nails and concrete form imperfections and slag, to ensure a flat surface. Other than that, I don't intend to do anything else, other than burn a half inch Type S coat of mortar, and then scratch it with a tiling trowel after it's thumb-dry.

Q1: Recommendations? Comments?

2) Cold joint. There's a picture of a cold joint where the front and back part of my house foundation connects. I filled it with a rubber (bridge joint sealing) mastic during the build, and intend to install stone over it.

Q2: Recommendations, to prevent a future vertical crack along that joint? I'm thinking just attach 2' of metal lath, a foot on either side of it, using concrete nails or screws. Should I do more?

3) Garage door upper frame (Lintel?). The garage inner frame is also pictured. I'll be removing all of that inner trim, down to the studs, and wrapping the frame with 2 sheets of membrane, then galvanized mesh, and then 1/2" mortar scratch coat. I have purchased prefabricated stone corners for the door sides. The top (upper, inside frame) is problematic. I have purchased what Selkirk calls "trim stones", 6" x 8" pieces of brown cultured stone, which I intend to install on the upper, inside frame. I will either install them parallel (i.e. 8" across, long edge facing outwards), or end out (i.e. 6" across, short side facing outwards). How I install them depends on whether I install the cultured flat stones (above the door) over the trim stones (i.e. hiding them), or have the trim stones showing underneath the flats (i.e. so you can see the ends of the trim stones, thus framing the door). I won't know which is best until I have the material on site.

Q3: Recommendations, for installing a 6"x8" stone upside down in a bed of mortar, so that it doesn't fall down while setting up??

I could obviously build a temporary wooden bridge/frame underneath, but I'd have to be able to apply mortar and slide those stones in between the scratch coat and the bridge frame. Moreover, when I've done this using stone for smaller applications (e.g. horizontal, under door on a fireplace surround), the mortar bled through and spoiled the stones. In that case, i.e. working with natural slate, I was able to mitigate the problem by mechanically removing the mortar, and washing with vinegar and a brush. That approach won't work with cultured stone. The trim stones must go in clean, and remain that way, i.e. they'll be very visible. Mortar stains will remain on them forever.

I've seen mason's who have used screws on either side when installing larger, sill/drip edge stones, to help keep them in place. That may work for bonding stones to a wall, but I doubt that would keep those trim stones in place upside-down, while the mortar is wet (that gravity; it's a pesky, if indifferent thingy).

4) FYI, flashing and drip edge. I haven't mentioned it, but just to resolve any doubts, I'll be installing 18" sill/drip edge between the siding and the stone foundation. I'll add brown metal flashing between siding and stone, to channel water from the siding out onto and over the drop edge, and prevent water penetrating down and behind the installed foundation stone.

5) Person/man door: In the pictures you'll see a person door to the right of the garage door. I'm not wrapping that, because the frame is structural. I can't remove or cut it back without compromising the door frame, and the door hinges. I'll probably remove the facing trim, run the lath and stone to the edge of the door, and install some new (probably thicker) facing trim after, so that the installed stone is not proud of the trim. "Probably", as in , I don't have a good solution, yet. I'd like to wrap that door, too, but ... just not going to be good idea for several reasons.

Q4: Ideas, comments on this door?

I'll start with five general site pictures, FYI, then add some that are specific to the questions I asked.

6) Materials: My estimate is about 95% complete (man, I hope so, at least). Using a couple of different sites for estimating, plus my own math skills, it looks like I'll need between #20 and #25, 90 lb bags of premixed Type S mortar. The sites I consulted suggested doubling that figure, to account for mortar required to apply the stone. Overall, I could be looking at #56 to #58 bags of mortar. I will start with a pallet (#42 to #44), and will attempt to order pre-colored "brown" mortar. Mortar that bleeds through should hopefully, blend with the Selkirk stone that I have on order. I'll need about 4 sheets of lath, 130' of brown J-flash (plus something above the garage door, TBD), TYVEK or #30 lb felt, Vycor to seal joints around the garage doors, some sort of 1" galvanized fasteners for the lath, to adhere for both concrete and wood sheathing (???), and ... 4 mil plastic for the driveway, a concrete mixer (on my way to pick up a used one now), cheap Harbor Freight grinder that I can trash and a diamond grinding cup (on order), 14" trowel (which I'll never use again), tuck pointer (same), a mortar hawk ... and there's more stuff coming.
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Unread 06-23-2021, 05:24 PM   #2
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Cold joint

Cold joint picture, FYI.
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Unread 06-23-2021, 05:30 PM   #3
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Garage door frame - will remove facia trim

I'll remove the facia inside trim, and then reinstall about 3" of it on the back of the door frame, after the lath, scratch coat, and stone are installed. I need the white faux frame to mount the rubber seal. I may have to add some wood backing/spacing to bring that trim out to the depth of the stone when it's installed. We'll see how that works out.

Again, all of that white wood is trim, not structural. I actually have a steel moment frame supporting that door, with 2"x6" or 2"x8" bolted on to the steel I-Beams, to attach the frame to the house.
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Unread 06-23-2021, 05:34 PM   #4
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Person door - structural frame

In contrast to the garage door frame, the person door frame is "structural".

I say that the person door frame is structural, as in, door supporting (i.e. not load supporting). The doors hinges are attach to the frame, and anything I do to weaken that 6" frame around the door, compromises the door. So, I really can't remove more than the facia trim. I can't wrap the door in lath and stone, and am not sure I'd want to. (I might have to remove that door some day, or replace it, and don't want to have to break concrete and stone to do it.)
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Unread 06-26-2021, 12:51 PM   #5
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Hi Scott,

The cold joint must be honored. Arrange a joint in your veneer right over it and fill it with something that will expand and contract.

Laticrete makes a group of products specifically for the job your doing. www.laticrete.com
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Unread 06-26-2021, 07:10 PM   #6
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Thanks, John, for the info.

So, I'll just leave the joint gap in the veneer, and use the same rubber mastic caulk to fill the gap that I used to seal the cold joint itself. Can't recall the name of the product at the moment, but it sets up like the rubber joints that I've seen in tennis courts, goes in like think caulk, fills wide joints, and feels like smooth, hard rubber afterwards.
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Unread 06-28-2021, 10:02 PM   #7
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New question (more or less), covering what I discussed in section 1.

Does exterior concrete require a vapor/moisture barrier, before installing the Type-S scratch coat?


As mentioned previously, I'm installing cultured stone veneer over a concrete foundation, using a type-S scratch coat bonded directly to the concrete. To prepare the surface, I'll thoroughly pressure wash the foundation and grind off any slag or mental form ties. My son (Construction Manager for a large Corp) suggested that this install requires the water/vapor barrier for the concrete prior to the scratch coat, such as Ardex 8+9 (and Sankrete makes a similar brush-on, trowel-on product).

The NCMA (National Concrete Masonry Association), MVMA (Masonry Veneer's Manufacturers Association), and NSVI (National Stone Veneer's International) all have detailed guides. None recommend a moisture/vapor barrier over concrete. I can't find much in the way of recommendations out there requiring a vapor/moisture barrier for an exterior installation, such as the one I'm doing on my house foundation and Garage front wall.

What say you folks?

Additional info: Found out that (a) this project follows most of the same preparation and standards as stucco (i.e. apparently, stone veneer is called "lumpy stucco" by many), (b) I need to add a weep flashing at the base of my sheathed garage wall (i.e. just like regular siding), and (c) I must install this at 4" above grade to prevent moisture migration/creep up the concrete/stone veneer wall. Regarding (c), thought I could get away with skipping that, i.e. installing to 3" below grade, waterproofing the stone, and backfilling. Will comply.


Referenced guides:

NCMA: https://ncma.org/resource/key-instal...-stone-veneer/

MVMA: https://static1.squarespace.com/stat...dition+web.pdf

NSVI: https://www.nsvi.com/specs/NSVI-FDLS...Guide-2019.pdf
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Unread 06-29-2021, 07:54 AM   #8
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Scott, I haven't yet figured out just what you're doing there.

First, are you putting this faux stone veneer only on the exposed concrete portions of what we see in your photos? You talk about your garage door "frame" and use of a lath and plaster over........something?

For the concrete parts I would recommend one of the tile installation manufacturers' systems of installation. They developed those due to the fairly consistent failures of the installations using Type S mortar and similar. The one John mentioned from Laticrete is the one with which I'm most familiar because we (TYW) happened to be at their facility in Dallas when they were developing it. But I know other manufacturers have similar systems.

I believe all such systems call for a liquid-applied waterproof membrane.

But if you want to use one of the masonry industry's methods instead, you appear to already have done your homework there.

I would personally not try to bond any type of stone veneer to a vertical surface using Type S mortar.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-29-2021, 02:58 PM   #9
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What Cx said about the S mortar. It just doesn't have the bonding strength. I have seen installation instructions call for a mix of thinset added to fat mud but I don't recall which manufacturer that was for.
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Unread 06-30-2021, 03:24 AM   #10
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"Scott, I haven't yet figured out just what you're doing there.

First, are you putting this faux stone veneer only on the exposed concrete portions of what we see in your photos? You talk about your garage door "frame" and use of a lath and plaster over........something?"
- CX

Short answer to first question: No

There's a picture that show's both the face of the garage, and the side of the house. If you draw a line from the bottom edge of the siding on the side of the house, across the garage to the other side of the house, all siding and trim below that imaginary line at the top of the garage, comes off. The MSV will wrap the corners of the house, and cover everything on the garage face from that line down. Preparations for the MSV over OSB requires two layers MRB (30# felt), lath, and a scratch coat. I intend to extend the lath over both OSB sheathing and concrete. Some standard or another says that the lath must be 16" past the corner, so I'll run the lath past the corner of the garage onto both side walls 16". The scratch coat covers the lath, and the bare concrete (garage walls, foundation walls, porch, etc.). The MSV will extend to 2" above the driveway grade, and 4" above the dirt grade.

The "garage door frame" I'm talking about is the inner wrap inside the door opening. The structural frame of the garage door is a steel H-beam moment frame, with 2x10"'s (if I recall correctly) bolted to that frame. The white wood seen inside the door frame is simply trim. That will come off, stone veneer corner pieces will wrap around inside of the door frame about 4 to 6" (i.e. maybe 2/3's of that inner wrap area) on the sides, and 6" x 8" trim stones will frame the top. (How I'll attach those trim stones upside down, and keep them there, is anyone's guess. I suppose that I'll build some sort of plywood support underneath, slap mortar on the stones, and slide them in between the structural wood frame and the support - a trick I haven't tried on anything this large.) I'll reinstall wood trim inside the frame for the back 1/3 of the inner frame wrap, for the door to close and seal around.

Hope that clarifies.
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Unread 06-30-2021, 03:35 AM   #11
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"What Cx said about the S mortar. It just doesn't have the bonding strength." - Davy

Readdressing the question back to the manufacturer.

I have a pallet of Type-S (Amerimix 400) in my garage, that's not going back. I'm thinking that I'll likely buy a polymer additive to increase bond strength for the scratch coat. If an properly installed 1/2" scratch coat adheres, it's unlikely the MSV installed with Type-S will detach from the wall. I don't have to worry about the mortar damaging the face of the stone, in the scratch coat. Not sure what to use; will research. Mapei makes a product. Lacticrete has 3701 Mortar Admix - would need at least 4 gallons at 7 bags per gallon, maybe $560, very $$$ stuff. That's about $20 per bag of mortar.
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Unread 06-30-2021, 08:44 AM   #12
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Much more clarity on my part at least, Scott.

Were I to do what you're planning, my additive of choice for the scratch coat would be Acryl-60, by Thoro. I've used it for concrete overlays that I honestly didn't expect to work and ended up with a surface that's as hard as Chinese algebra and extremely durable. And has adhered to the original concrete surfaces most tenaciously. Probably save you some money, too. See my warranty information below.

I'd still not use the Type S as my bonding mortar, but if forced to, I would use the Acryl-60 in that mix as well.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-30-2021, 05:58 PM   #13
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Well definitely look into the ACRYL 60. Thanks for the tip.

The MSV Manufacturer (Selkirk Stone) basically replied to my follow-up, "waterproofing pre-scratch coat is fine", just like MVMA standards say a MRB "may" be applied, i.e. no objective criteria mandating it. The ARDEX 8+9 is expensive as heck, $120 a gallon online (though I may get that down to $88 by buying the 3 gallon size, and I haven't checked with local dealers which may or may not be cheaper without the shipping charges). At maximum 100 yards per gallon, I'd need at least 5 gallons. Application's easy with a brush or towel, but isn't effortless.

(Note: I'm wide open to product suggestions for pre-scratchcoat water proofing, something less expensive than the Ardex.)

Second, the manufacturer also replied that "many masons use a thinset for their scratch coat (for improved bond), and I wish MVMA would add that to their standards", which is nice of them to mention, after they first told me to use Type-S for both scratch and bond coat, and I've got 3,400 lbs of Type-S sitting in my garage.

So, I'll definitely use a bonding agent rather than try to return the mortar. TBD, is waterproofing the foundation concrete, prior to that.

First up for the bonding agent is a surface applied product, Weld Crete, which would run me about $120 for the five gallons I would need. However, as I wrote earlier, I'll look at ACRYL 60, which mixes in with water prior to mixing the mortar, as well. I've got a note into Weld Crete asking them to verify that their product will bond to a treated concrete surface (e.g. treated with the Ardex or similar product). My ultimate nightmare would be to waterproof the foundation, only to have that product prevent good adhesion by the mortar scratch coat.

All in all, the waterproofing and bonding agent will probably add about $750 (depending on the products I eventually use) to the cost of the project, and I'm guessing, 15-20 hours. Not happy about that. I'm also adding an exterior water proofing over the veneer after install, which is optional. However, I believe it's required given that most of this installation will be 4' or less from the ground, i.e. there'll be irrigation water and splashing rain water on this stone, which could void the 50 year warranty. (And yes, I DO intend to walking around and kicking at 116 years old, to see the end of that warranty. )

So, I'll update this with my decisions and progress. I'm down for a month with eye surgery beginning July 15th, the veneer won't be delivered until late August. I'm hoping to have half the area prepped (Garage and porch side of the house) when it arrives, get that half done before winter freeze shuts me down, and worst case, finish the other half after next spring thaw. So, this will be ongoing for a while. Normally, I plan out projects to run reasonably quick, but I'm slow, and I run 75% over my timeline. This project I'm adding 4x the time I think it'll take, cause eventually I learn.

Update 1:

I haven't completely rejected the Acryl-60 suggestion, but if the Weld Crete product is a viable alternative, it wins based on cost.
Rationale:
  1. Acryl-60 mixes with at a 1:3 ration (or 1:2, but 1:3 should be sufficient here)
  2. The recommended mix ration for Amerimix 400, Type-S mortar is 1.5 gallon's water to an 80 lb bag
  3. That makes Acryl-60 coverage to be 1/2 gallon to #1 80 lb bag of mortar. At the estimated 20 to 25, 80# bags of mortar required for the 450 sq ft scratch coat, that means the project requires 10 to 13 gallon's of Acryl-60.
  4. A 5-gallon price check is $147.97 per 5 gallon's, which for my project, would put requirements at 443.91 for 15 gallons.
  5. $120 beats $443.91.

Update 2:
Just for giggles, Amerimix makes two Type-S mortars, Amerimix 400 and 500. In their documentation, the only thing differentiating the two is a statement that "some masons prefer Amerimix 500". I bought Amerimix 400. Reviewing the MVMA mortar standard in detail, i.e. all those mysterious "ASTM" numbers, I discovered that for whatever reason, MVMA requires preblended mortars to satisfy ASTM C1714 versus a more common ASTM C270 standard. The difference between Amerimix 400 and 500, BESIDES "some mason's prefer 500"?? You guessed it. Amerimix 500 is both ASTM C1714 and ASTM C270, compliant, whereas Amerimix 400, only ASTM C270.

I am absolutely freaking hating this project, just in the preparation phase. I hate Amerimix. I hate Selkirk Stone. I hate the local (unnamed) vendor I've been dealing with to buy the stone. I hate MVMA. I especially hate the high priced Ardex products!

I try to do things "the right way". It seems that the whole world is either in "lawyer defense mode" or just gundeck's everything.
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Unread 06-30-2021, 06:52 PM   #14
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If I were doing the project using the Type S scratch coat method over the concrete surfaces, I would not bother with the waterproofing layer over the concrete at all. The most likely early failure in your climate will be freeze/thaw and that will more than likely take place within the scratch/bond coat of Type S mortar. For a thinset mortar bond to the concrete surface I would want a direct bonded waterproofing membrane on the concrete. Testing and documentation for my preference? None.

The different ASTM standards you're looking at, I think, concern mortars intended for stacking CMUs and not for bonding anything using Type S mortars. The major difference between the C270 and the C1714 is accountability. In your application I don't think you're gonna be concerned with the differences.

I've never been concerned with any actual bonding application using masonry mixes, Type N,S,or M, and don't even know if there is a specification for that application of those products. I always expect some attorney is gonna find a specification for absolutely anything these days, but I'm currently not familiar with that one. And if someone out there has actual copies of C270 and C1714, I'd really like to hear if there is any shear bond or similar testing involved.

Sounds like you're having loads of fun with the project. Might have been easier to have had a rock lug poured into the foundation and just put a real rock veneer on there, eh?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-15-2021, 08:21 PM   #15
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Siding&Foundation Transition issues

First off, I'm treating all flashing and moisture prevention issues for this project pretty much the same as installing stucco on a wall. I'm installing a scratch coat over prepared surfaces, followed by cultured rock. A concrete wall is a concrete wall, as far as moisture penetration prevention is concerned.

I have some photos describing three issues I need to resolve, have questions and my planned resolution. Could use some feedback and recommendations, particularly if anyone's dealt with this before. (Not certain, since this is a tile forum, not a stucco forum, but folks here are pretty sharp.)

Pictures, in order:

1) This is context, of the area I'm discussing. My house foundation trellises the hillside, and the siding follows it to some extent. I'm installing rock down to within 2" to 4" from the grade. (Note: I'll grind away the waterproofing before applying the cement bonding agent, to ensure the scratch coat sticks.)

2 & 3) These photos show where the vertical siding trim will interface with the scratch coat and rock, and where the siding terminates, above the foundation. I'm installing flashing at the base of the siding, up between the sheathing and siding (behind the Tyvek, if I can), and an 18" long drip edge stone between the flashing and cultured stone. Both together, should prevent (vertical) moisture penetration from the siding to behind the stone.

Q1: Recommendation for moisture protection between the siding vertical trim and the stone? At the least, I would slip a couple of sheets of #30 roofing felt behind the trim (as possible), wrap it around the side of the trim piece, and staple it to the trim on edge. The alternative would be to find some "stucco stop" type galv. flashing (i.e. "L" shaped), and use RAMSET concrete nails every 6" to secure it to the concrete foundation, along with the roofing felt. Overkill?

4) This picture is a close up of the siding trim where the foundation is damaged (lower left, context picture). Obviously, there's nothing there to attach flashing to, should I go that direction (i.e. #3, above). I could try to push a "stucco corner" (preformed wire) in there, run some steel mesh across from the corner 12" to 16" to the right, and again, secure it with RAMSET nails (or concrete screws), to provide a backing. Then run the scratch coat mortar into the corner.

Q2: It's just going to be difficult to strengthen & stabilize that corner enough to hold the cultured stone cladding. I don't know if either concrete screws or nails are going to hold in that foundation (i.e. it could just crumble). Other recommendations? Other options:
a) Yes, I suppose I could rip the downspout and siding out of the way, set a vertical form against that foundation section of the, and try to pour concrete into the form to create a firm concrete edge, then rebuild the wall sheathing, siding, etc.. That hurts my brain too much to even consider. Not sure it's even possible.).

b) Clean that section of foundation as much as I can (i.e. remove lose debris), paint concrete bonding compound over it, and just build up layers of mortar until I can bring it flush with the rest of the foundation. Add #30 felt stapled to the siding trim, between the wood and mortar, for moisture penetration prevention.

5) The last picture shows a "simple" concrete foundation hairline crack. John mentioned with I discussed a cold joint earlier, that cold joints need to be honored. This isn't that. I think I can add 16" of metal mesh either side of the crack, secure it to the foundation with RAMSET nails, and apply the scratch coat over it, to prevent the cultured stone from separating or cracking due to future foundation movement.

Q3: Comments or suggestions on this (foundation crack mitigation) plan?

Note: My stone delivery date, originally the 3rd week of August, has been pushed to mid September. No problem. It's not like we get early freezes or snow in Northern Idaho. I'm good. I just have more time to mess up the preparation. It's been very hot here, unseasonably for about 45 days, so I'm not exactly complaining. Should have most of the prep done by this Thursday (or....uhh...maybe the Thursday after that - that's a FIRM maybe, too!)
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